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The Age (Melbourne): Woodside ignites on talk of renewed Shell interest

Dinakar Sethuraman
June 20, 2007

WOODSIDE Petroleum shares rose to their highest in a year after a report that 34 per cent shareholder Royal Dutch Shell might bid for Australia’s second-biggest oil and gas producer.

The stock of the Perth-based company rose as much as $1.23, or 2.7 per cent, to $47.18 on the stock exchange, a 52-week high after LNG Intelligence said Shell might try again to buy the rest of the company.

Woodside shares closed yesterday at $46.85, a full-day gain of 90¢.

Woodside spokesman Roger Martin declined to comment.

The Government in 2001 prevented Shell from increasing its stake in Woodside, citing national interest.

Woodside is the operator of the North-West Shelf Venture that exports about 12 million tonnes of liquefied natural gas a year. It is also proposing to spend as much as $10 billion to develop its Pluto LNG project off Western Australia.

Shell might not act on any proposed offer before the coming federal election, LNG Intelligence said. Shell might be able to ship more LNG to the US if it gained control of Woodside, the report said.

Last week, Britain-based broker Cazenove Group said that a merger of BG Group Plc and Woodside might be of substantial benefit to both companies.

LNG is natural gas chilled to liquid form for transportation by tanker to destinations not connected by pipeline.

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